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Distinguished Alumni Awards

In honor of our centennial celebration in 2017, we began the Department of Psychology's Distinguished Alumni Awards. The two awards will honor distinguished alumni from our undergraduate and graduate programs, respectively. 

The nomination deadline is November 12, 2018.

Nomination Process

Nominations must include:

  • A 1-2 page nomination letter that includes a brief description of the candidate's background, accomplishments, and why the candidate is deserving of the award.
  • The candidate's resume or CV, if available. (This is optional).

Decision Process

Our department’s Distinguished Alumni Awards Committee will review nominations and forward recommendations to the department chair. 

Decisions will be communicated to nominees in December.

Award winners will be invited to a ceremony to receive the award in the spring, and will have the opportunity to meet with department faculty and students. In addition, the awards will be publicized throughout the University and its various social media channels, and will be commemorated within the department.

Selection Criteria 

  • The awards will recognize distinguished achievement, in the many and varied forms that achievement may take, among our alumni.
  • For some alumni, especially our PhD alumni, the awards may recognize distinguished achievements in research and scholarship, whether in academic or non-academic settings.
  • For other alumni, both undergraduate and graduate, the awards may recognize distinguished achievements and/or leadership in their chosen professions, as well as notable humanitarian efforts.
  • The criteria for these awards will be inclusive, capturing the diversity of distinguished achievements possible by individuals educated in our department.
  • Priority will be given to individuals who are not currently appointed at the University of Minnesota.
  • This award program is not designed to align with fundraising goals, although department donors may be nominated.
  • Self-nominations are discouraged.

Submitting a Nomination

Submit nomination materials by email to Professor Jeffry Simpson, department chair, through his assistant, Missy Jones. 
Nominations may also be submitted by postal mail to:

Professor Jeffry Simpson, chair
Department of Psychology
University of Minnesota
75 East River Parkway
Minneapolis, MN 55455

For questions, please contact Missy Jones by email or phone at 612-626-3171.

2018 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients

Mary Koss

Dr. Mary Koss

Dr. Koss, PhD, is Regents’ Professor in the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health at the University of Arizona.

She published the first national study sexual assault among college students in 1987. She was the principal investigator of the RESTORE Program; the first restorative justice program for sex crimes among adults that was quantitatively evaluated. She also directed Safety Connections, a restorative justice-based family strengthening program for children under 5 exposed to violence. She has developed resources for campus use including ARC3 Campus Climate Survey and the STARRSA model for rehabilitation of those responsible for sexual misconduct. Her ongoing work evaluates a sexual assault primary prevention program focusing on staff of alcohol serving establishments. She recently published a test of the “serial rape” hypothesis among college men.

Her credentials document close to 300 publications. The most recent appeared in American Psychologist and focused on victim voice and in re-envisioning responses to sexual and physical violence, better responses to underserved populations, and greater alignment of funding from the Violence Against Women Act funding with expressed victim needs.

During her career, she has consulted with many national and international health and advocacy organizations. Since 2016, she advised the US Departments of Justice, Education, and the White House Taskforce on Campus Sexual Assault.

She was the 8th recipient of the Visionary Award from End Violence Against Women International. She has received awards from the American Psychological Association: the Award for Distinguished Contributions to Research in Public Policy (2000) and the Award for Distinguished Contributions to the International Advancement of Psychology (2017).


Heather Peters 

Dr. Heather Peters

Dr. Peters, Ph.D., LP, CMPC, is Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Minnesota, Morris and a Licensed Psychologist in the state of Minnesota.

Dr. Peters received her doctorate of philosophy (2006) in clinical psychology with a specialty in sport psychology from the University of Arizona. She completed her predoctoral internship and postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California-Davis Counseling and Psychological Services where she received extensive training in multicultural counseling and diversity issues.

The overall goal of Dr. Peters’ program of research is to assist in the development of culturally sensitive interventions and programs that improve the health and wellbeing of people from marginalized cultural groups within our society.

Dr. Peters has published numerous chapters and articles on various topics related to culture. Her applied interests include facilitating multicultural discussion groups and providing sport psychology services to coaches and athletes. Dr. Peters is a certified mental performance consultant and a member of the United States Olympic Committee’s Sport Psychology Registry. She has conducted numerous diversity training seminars around the United States.

Dr. Peters has recently received the following awards: Cesar E. Chavez Award; UMM Alumni Association Teaching Award; Horace T. Morse-University of Minnesota Alumni Association Award for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Education.